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Malcolm Butler Wasn't 'Prepared Mentally' To Play With Cardinals

Cornerback explains retirement decision now that he's back with Patriots

The mystery of Malcolm Butler's abrupt retirement at the end of training camp in 2021 with the Cardinals has never been fully explained. The cornerback is back in football, having been released from the Reserve/Retired list by the Cards and then being signed by his former team, the Patriots.

Butler was made available to the media for the first time today in New England, and the first time since he retired. And the first question? What went into the decision to retire at the time?

"Bill Belichick always says, 'Do what's best for the team,' " Butler told reporters. "At that time, I think I did what's best for me and my family. If you're not prepared mentally, you can't do nothing physically, so I think I made the right decision by doing that.

"I came out of retirement because I love the game of football and I'm blessed to have another opportunity to play."

Not surprisingly, it didn't get much more detailed than that.

"It was tough, at home on Sundays watching the games and sitting on the couch missing the game," Butler said. "It was tough situation. I think I made the right decision. Self awareness is the best awareness. You have to make sure mentally it's at a good standpoint, and that's what I did."

CB Malcolm Butler goes through a drill during 2021 minicamp